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    Thread: Tire & Black Trim - How to maintain and darken

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      Tire & Black Trim - How to maintain and darken

      So, you have a new / old car and the black plastics around the windshield / door handles / bumpers have faded to grey, what the heck to do? You have a well maintained car but the tires are looking more brown than black? Sounds familiar? We are going to talk about how to address these issues so read on...

      -------

      Common Definitions


      First some definitions to set the context and ensure all are on same page, so kindly bear with me...

      Tires -

      1. the rubber part of the wheels with the writing on it basically the front sidewall and the shoulder (not the tread or rims or alloys or wheel caps or whatever, just the rubber part).

      2. Simply put the surface which you see when you look at the car. Tire sidewalls may either be -
      -> a black sidewall
      -> a white sidewall

      3. We are going to focus primarily on the black sidewalls tires as of now.


      Trim
      -

      1. anything which is plastic or rubber and is external to the car. We are not going to talk about chrome plated plastic or metal as of now.

      2. This includes all plastic parts like bumpers, the cowl area (where the wipers are fixed), door handles, rubber beading on the roof, rubber beading around the doors, around mirror etc.

      3. Trim may be painted (body colored bumpers or door handles) or unpainted (like black or grey bumpers).

      4. We are going to talk about unpainted trim as of now.

      -------
      Tire and Trim Chemistry 101

      Nowadays, more and more plastics / rubber are being used in cars to keep costs down and reduce weight. If you are lucky you may have body colored trim on your car.

      However, most often we see a lot of unpainted black plastics being used as trim and what happens is that a few months down the line, the black starts developing whitish patches or even worse starts changing color to gray.

      Pick any 10 year old car like a Maruti 800 or something and you will see the black bumpers or cowl have turned nearly white.

      This happens because of UV rays and oxidation
      . The sun rays, over a period of time, will bleach any colors through oxidation.

      If your bumper is painted / body colored, you are lucky because the same two stage paint that is used on the body is used on the trim also. The clear coat of such paints generally provide some amount of protection from UV rays but over time, through various process, all clear coats will fail. May happen five years or ten years down the line, but it will happen. The same UV rays also turn black tires brown over a period of time.

      Remember we talked about the sealants and waxes previously? On the car body, these provide the protection from UV rays. Similarly, all trim and tires need some form of protection.

      -------

      Tires - how to protect and improve the looks

      A. Equipment Needed:

      1. All-Purpose Cleaner (APC): See section on APC below. Can be substituted with a 1:1 dish washing liquid detergent, but would suggest you get a bottle of APC if possible.

      2. Tire Brush: Any medium hard synthetic bristle brush for tires. You can use a soft/medium bristle nylon clothes cleaning brush. Any old MF can be used as a substitute for tire brush.

      3. Foam applicator: will need to be dedicated only for tire dressing.

      4. Few MF towels: Use towels which are worn out or ready to be thrown out. Can use the kitchen or hand terry cotton towels for this purpose.

      5. Tire Dressing
      : Please read the section below on Tire Dressing

      Product Recommendations:

      APC: Megs APC or any other APC of your choice and please follow the dilution ratios as per bottle
      Tire dressing: Megs Hot Shine High Gloss Tire Spray / Megs Endurance Spray / Zaino Z-16 or anything similar of your choice

      B. How to use:

      1. Do one tire at a time.

      Cleaning

      2. Rinse the tire with water to get initial dirt out.

      3. Spray the APC onto the tire, all over, with full coverage as much as possible. Leave it on for a minute or two. Try and avoid the alloys/rims/treads. (Key Step)

      4. Now take the tire brush / towel and start scrubbing the tire. Scrub well and spray more APC as required.

      5. Rinse the tire with water and you will see the dirt run off.

      6. Wipe the tire dry with another towel. Dry as much as possible. (Key Step)

      7. Check if the tire is still looking brown. If yes, repeat above steps till satisfied.

      Dressing

      8. Spray the foam applicator / applicator towel with the tire dressing. If using gel, apply gel onto the foam applicator / towel. (Key Step)

      9. Start applying to the tire and spread it all around.

      10. Now go the next tire and repeat steps 2- 9

      11. Now come back to the first tire, grab a towel and buff off the tire well to get excess product off. One tire done. (Key Step)

      12. Now start on the third tire.

      13. Repeat steps 2-9.

      14. Come back to second tire repeat step 11.

      15.Continue till all tires are done.

      16. Once all tires are done, come back to first tire and buff off a second time and do for all the other three.

      Tips:

      1. Drying the tire before application of dressing helps in better bonding.

      2. Gap between application of dressing and buffing off helps in better curing.

      3. Buffing off the tires twice after application helps removes excess product thereby reducing chance of splatter on the car body.

      4. Applying the spray / gel on the applicator prevents product wastage and more control of uniform application.

      5. Generally dressings last anywhere from 2 - 4 weeks or more.

      -------

      Trims - how to protect and improve the looks

      A. Equipment Needed:

      1. All-Purpose Cleaner (APC): See section on APC below. Can be substituted with a 1:1 dish washing liquid detergent, but would suggest you get a bottle of APC if possible.

      2. Foam applicator: will need to be dedicated only for tire dressing.

      3. Few MF towels: Use towels which are worn out or ready to be thrown out. Can use the kitchen or hand terry cotton towels for this purpose.

      4. Tire Dressing
      : Please read the section below on Tire Dressing

      Product Recommendations:

      APC: Megs APC or any other APC of your choice and please follow the dilution ratios as per bottle
      Tire dressing: Megs Hot Shine High Gloss Tire Spray / Megs Endurance Spray / Zaino Z-16 or anything similar of your choice

      B. How to use:

      Cleaning

      1. If doing the bumper/cowl/door handle, rinse it out before starting. If doing the rubber beadings, take a damp towel and wipe them well.

      2. Take a towel, spray well with APC and start scrubbing the bumper/cowl/door handle. For beadings, go gently with less force...Try and avoid the body.

      3. Keep on wetting the towel with more APC and rub the trim until it is clean.

      4. Rinse well with water.

      5. Wipe dry with another towel. Dry as much as possible. (Key Step)

      Dressing

      6. Spray the foam applicator / applicator towel with the tire dressing. If using gel, apply gel onto the foam applicator / towel. (Key Step)

      7. Apply small sections at a time and cover the full section.

      8. Leave on for a couple of minutes or as per bottle direction.

      9. Buff it off with a towel.

      10. Give it a 10-15 mins gap, come back to the piece and repeat steps 6-9. For rubber beading, one layer of dressing should be sufficient unless really faded. (Key Step)

      11.Repeat for other trim pieces.

      12. Do a second buffing for all trim.

      Tips:

      1. Drying before application of dressing helps in better bonding.

      2. Gap between application of dressing and buffing off helps in better curing.

      3. Buffing off twice after application helps removes excess product thereby reducing chance of runoff in rains

      4. Applying the spray / gel on the applicator prevents product wastage and more uniform application.

      5. Different dressings have different levels of darkening / shine effect.

      6. Really faded trims will need multiple applications before they look better.

      7. Will last from 2-4 weeks or more depending on product.


      -------
      What is an All-Purpose Cleaner?

      1. A swiss-army-knife cleaner which is much, much stronger than your normal shampoo or rinse less wash and generally comes concentrated in bottles. Generally combines a degreaser with a cleaner and is strongly alkaline on the pH scale.

      2. Generally used diluted and not directly. Can be used on painted parts, but has to be diluted. Generally, these will either be citrus based / solvent based / water based

      3. The dilutions will be mentioned on the bottle, various dilutions for various purposes but common dilution ratios are as below. Mostly used are 20:1 and 10:1 dilutions.

      -> 20:1 =>> Moderate dilution, good for mostly clean exterior, interior cleaning, rubber beading etc...

      -> 10:1 =>> Stronger dilution than above for stubborn stains which cannot be removed by above

      -> 5:1 ==>> Strong dilution, primarily for exterior use, say for really dirty tires or stains on bumpers

      -> 3:1 ==> Super strong solution, primarily used for engine degreasing etc. Seldom used for black trim or rubber.

      -> 1:1 ==>> Rarely used unless you know what you are doing or your APC bottle says this is safe for use.


      So, 20:1 dilution is what? It means 20 parts water to 1 part product giving total of 21 parts of solution

      say Total Solution = 500 ml
      APC = (1/21) *500 ml = 23.81 ml say approx 20 ml
      Water = 500 - 20 = 480 ml

      So 20 ml of APC to be mixed with 480 ml of water...This is slightly more diluted than 20:1 but approximations are fine and you can always measure it exactly if you want

      VERY VERY IMPORTANT

      1. DO NOT LET THE APC DRY, AFTER USING IMMEDIATELY WIPE OFF WITH A WATER DAMP TOWEL.

      2. ONLY FOR EXTERIOR USE UNLESS IT SAYS OTHERWISE ON YOUR APC BOTTLE.

      3. HIGHER CONCENTRATION OF APC MIXTURE WILL STRIP SEALANT / WAX



      -------
      What is Tire Dressing?

      1. A product for tires for protection and beauty purpose.

      2. Protection - from UV rays, prevents browning and helps in darkening, depending on product to product.

      3. Beauty - can give either of three looks to tire - glossy plasticky shine, matte finish and satin finish. Satin finish is closer to natural tire looks.

      4. Can be either of three types - spray, gel or foam

      5. Either solvent based or water based products.

      6. Solvent based - generally more durable to regular use and water repellent, generally more long lasting and gives glossier shinier finish with faster curing time. Can sometimes attract more dust and road grime.

      7. Water based - generally less durable than solvent based and may need frequent reapplication, better for tire rubber, more resistant to dirt and grime and gives more of satin / matte look. Can wash off during heavy rains and requires longer curing time.

      8. All tire dressings can be used on external plastic or rubber, unless specifically mentioned otherwise on the bottle. This is a fact which the manufacturers do not share because they want us to buy multiple products.

      9. Some tire dressings, specially the water based ones, can be used on exterior and interior. Unless specifically mentioned otherwise on the bottle, stick to exterior usage only.

      10. Preferably avoid silicon based tire dressings.

      11. Dedicated trim dressings give better durability and results. Good products are AutoFinesse Revive, Mothers Back to Black, Chemical Guys New Look Trim Gel, Dodo Juice Tyromania, Zaino Z-16, FinishKare # 108 AS Top Kote Tire Dressing, Optimum Opti-Bond (Z-16, FkP # 108 available here and hopefully soon, Opti-Bond also).

      12. All trim dressings have to be reapplied periodically. Only two types of nearly permanent products are there - dyes and Gtechniq C4. Examples of dyes are like Forever Black, Black WOW etc...C4 is in a class of it's own, lasts for nearly two years but super expensive.

      -------


      Will try to post some pics to show how a tire dressing can make a difference on tires and trim...

      So, if you got a new car and lots of black plastic, protect it NOW before it fades.

      For cars with painted bumpers - the same sealant / wax that you applying to the car body, apply here also. For any black / grey trims grab a dressing and protect it now.



      -------
      Caveat: Neither me nor the forum is liable for any incorrect usage of above mentioned chemicals, use at your own risk.
      Last edited by fordfan; 4th Aug 2012 at 23:59.

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      Q: APC seems like a dangerous chemical, is it safe for car paint?
      A: APC is just like any other tool, 20:1 is generally a safe dilution with sufficient cleaning power and can be used for both exterior and interiors for deep cleaning. Keep a water damped towel handy, in case of any overspray, immediately wipe it off (water neutralizes the APC). APC's can also be used for household cleaning of bathrooms, sinks, toilets, grimy tiles, gas stoves and more. NOT FOOD SAFE so avoid cleaning the kitchen vessel insides...

      Q: Can APC substitute my shampoo if it so good at cleaning?
      A: NO and YES. No because even at 20:1 chance are if you have a cheap wax on your vehicle, it will get stripped. Yes because it is good for those times when you need a bit more cleaning power than what a shampoo provides like removing bugs or maybe tar spots etc...something which the normal shampoo cannot budge.

      Q: Why do i need an APC when a dish washing liquid can be a substitute?
      A: APC's have many, many uses...dish washing liquid will only be good for stripping the wax / sealant and they are not really tailored for automotive uses...best to stick to a good brand APC.

      Q: What are best APC's out there in the market?
      A: The two best APC's are Autosmart G101 and Bilt-Hamber Surfex HD, as per my research. Megs APC is quite good and will suffice for most people so try and get some of that.

      Q: How to check if my tire dressing will be okay on bumpers?
      A: Do a small test spot on the bumper, rather than going ahead with all of it in one go and see if you like the looks.

      Q: I do not have a tire spray or gel but a foam? how do i use that on bumpers?
      A: Tire foams generally clean and protect. So this is a product which is specific to tires. Stick to spray liquids or gels, much more versatile.

      Q: My tire spray bottle says, spray and walk away, no wiping, why is that so?
      A: You can certainly apply directly to tires or bumpers BUT - first, you waste product and second, less chance of spray the body or alloys and third, much more uniform looks.

      Q: Why is all this buffing required after tire dressing application?
      A: Buffing ensure you are removing any excess product thereby preventing sling / runoff in case it rains. Also helps it cure faster.

      Q: What is permanent dyes like Forever Black?
      A: The names is self explanatory. However, these require specific application technique, please read up on them before buying and using. Also, they can be a pain in the A** if you get it on your clothes / car.

      Q: Hey my foam applicator / towel has become totally black, what is happening? Can i use it for wiping the windshield?
      A: Yes, tire dressings will generally stain the applicator, suggest you keep that aside only for tire dressing. And, best to have separate applicators / towels to prevent cross - contamination.

      Q: I have black bumpers on my new car and i want to apply my wax/ sealant for protection, is that possible?
      A: Check what is says on the bottle of wax / sealant. Some will stain trims and some will not. Best to do a small test spot and see what happens. No staining then go ahead. Megs UQW is a good product for trim...

      Q: I have heard of the heat gun / hair dryer / peanut butter / tiger sp**m etc to be the miracle cure for faded trim, do they work?
      A: I have not tried this so don't know if they will work or not. Suggest you experiment and let the forum know.

    3. #3

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      Q: Is cleaning with APC required everytime before applying tire dressing?
      A: APC cleaning required mostly in two cases -one, when you are changing from one dressing brand to another and second, after six months or more as removing the older layers will help the fresh coat go on better. Normally,for maintenance, just wash with shampoo, dry and go ahead with the dressing.


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      Awesome thread, I always had these questions in my mind which seems to have been clarified with the above post:

      1. I use Megs Endurance Spray not only on Tyre but also on all the black plastic parts in the wheel well and mud guards. Gives such a neat finish, but always used to wonder if I can use this product on plastic parts.

      2. Rinse well with water - had doubts if that will induce rusting (one a week).

      3. Have been using a tyre de-greaser on the chrome and the well, but a generic APC is the way to go as it can also be used in the engine bay. Thinking of buying Optimum power clean.

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      OPC is a fantastic APC... I want a gallon but I already have around 2 gallons of other APC :-( so I have to resist

      Makes sense to buy APC's in gallon sized bottles, much cheaper and will last forever try cleaning bathroom taps or floor or shower glass or around the kitchen awesome. I use it for cleaning grimy ceiling fans and tube lights also.

      You can use the APC as wheel / alloy cleaner also just remember to rinse and wipe with a wet cloth.

      If you already have a decent degreaser no need to waste money on a dedicated APC, go ahead and use it in engine bay... Unless if course you want to buy it.

      I don't know anything about electricals in the engine bay so a bit scared to clean cause I don't want to mess anything up, but I so get that itchy feeling sometimes. And my mechanic has been no help, says 'Haan sir go ahead and water wash it'

      Megs Endurance I haven't tried yet, but can you post some pics of your tires and Trim here? Am not too fond of the plastic shiny blingy look personally, I like the matt look but would like to have a look at how it looks.



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      Wheel wells are fine but avoid using stronger dilution of APC on chrome. Mostly these are chrome plated plastic sometimes chrome plated metal, and best to get a dedicated metal polish for chrome or use light cleaners like shampoo or ONR

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      Quote Originally Posted by fordfan View Post
      Wheel wells are fine but avoid using stronger dilution of APC on chrome. Mostly these are chrome plated plastic sometimes chrome plated metal, and best to get a dedicated metal polish for chrome or use light cleaners like shampoo or ONR

      Sent from my GT-I9000 using Tapatalk
      Yea, mine is a chrome plated plastic.

      Quote Originally Posted by fordfan View Post
      OPC is a fantastic APC... I want a gallon but I already have around 2 gallons of other APC :-( so I have to resist

      Makes sense to buy APC's in gallon sized bottles, much cheaper and will last forever try cleaning bathroom taps or floor or shower glass or around the kitchen awesome. I use it for cleaning grimy ceiling fans and tube lights also.

      You can use the APC as wheel / alloy cleaner also just remember to rinse and wipe with a wet cloth.

      If you already have a decent degreaser no need to waste money on a dedicated APC, go ahead and use it in engine bay... Unless if course you want to buy it.

      I don't know anything about electricals in the engine bay so a bit scared to clean cause I don't want to mess anything up, but I so get that itchy feeling sometimes. And my mechanic has been no help, says 'Haan sir go ahead and water wash it'

      Megs Endurance I haven't tried yet, but can you post some pics of your tires and Trim here? Am not too fond of the plastic shiny blingy look personally, I like the matt look but would like to have a look at how it looks.



      Sent from my GT-I9000 using Tapatalk
      I'm buying all 128oz bottles of ONR, OPC and Protectant plus this time, the 16-Oz bottle of Duragloss NR lasted 45-60 days for me, I also use the ONR/Duragloss-NR) to make QD. So with that calculation the 128oz comes out pretty cheap and should last little more than a year.

      The Megs gives almost a matte finish around the wheel well and mud guard, i love the look, its like i just got the car from the showroom. Will post pictures.

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      +1 great...

      I love gallon bottles, looking at them gives me great peace that I will never run out when I need it..

      Do post some pics and a quick review of OPP and Megs Endurance both, haven't used OPP so would love to see how it fares.

      Also, a good source for info/usage on optimum products is the Opt forums... Very helpful... Can be subscribed through Tapatalk or similar app.

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      I presently use Armour all's New Car protectant, had picked it up abroad. I find it to be a nice product too.

      The only issue with those large bottles is that you need to have a smaller spray type bottles first so that you can refill.
      Last edited by vbhoj74; 21st Aug 2012 at 12:52.

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      Yup you need to build up a bottle, towel and applicator collection order a few bottles or towels or app pads when ordering something from outside.

      I will also frequently decant into smaller 4oz bottles for use... Sometimes the spray heads don't know last specially with strong chemicals.

      For OPC best to buy some chemical resistant sprayers.

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